Beginning in the 2017-18 school year, when my granddaughter was in first grade in Ms. Webb’s class, I began coming to the class each week to read a story and lead a creative arts activity related to the story. My granddaughter would sit up front with me to help share the story illustrations. In the last 2 years, though my granddaughter has moved on to 2nd and 3rd grade, she has continued to join me in Ms. Webb’s class, now reading the stories and helping me create each lesson plan.
The stories and activities have been inspired by the work of our colleague Natalia Anciso, who has been using the principles and creative arts activities of our Curriculum & Resource Guide, to bring human rights ideas and social emotional learning to her kindergarten and 2nd grade students.
The intention behind each story and related activity is to encourage one or more of the following skills and experiences:
- Fun while learning
- Knowledge about and inspiration from the accomplishments of historical figures, even amid major personal and/or societal challenges
- Increased empathy about the lives and experiences of others
- Grasp of concepts like gratitude, love and acknowledging others
- Interpersonal communication skills with classmates and adults
- Enjoyment of creative arts activities
- Sharpening of listening and “paying attention” skills
- Fun interacting with classmates and adults
We have used several of the activities outlined on Pages 8-13 of our Curriculum, including:
Zip Zap Zop, Pass the Clap and What Are You Doing, all thoroughly enjoyed by the students, and particularly beneficial as they enable everyone to fully participate and have fun.
We hope this outline is helpful in your classroom and at home in encouraging playful and meaningful experiences across generations.
Director of The World As It Could Be Human Rights Education Program (TWAICB)
Holder of California Lifetime Credential in Elementary Education